January 13, 2011
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The shootings in Arizona have shaken our nation and given us all pause to think about the state of political discourse in this country. Our prayers go out to all the victims, and their families, and as we say at Oneness-Family School we “hold them all in the light.”
As we strive to come to grips with this senseless tragedy, some important lessons can be learned. First of all, the words we use do have consequences. While no direct connection has been made between the shooter and the vitriolic political climate in Arizona (and nationally), it is not hard to see the links. In the little gem of a book called “The Four Agreements,” being more conscious about our language and its effects is a central theme. While none of us may be purveyors of hate speech, all of us can be mindful of the impact of our words have on others. This is an essential lesson for our children as well.
Another deeper lesson has to do with the nature of dialogue itself. One of the most disheartening things about the fractured nature of our political system is the evident inability of people to hear other points of view. To listen to someone you don’t agree with, and to state a point of view in a respective manner, is a difficult task. It is a skill that should be practiced and lauded. At Oneness-Family School we strive to teach the students to be good listeners, to see multiple perspectives, and to stand firm in their own truth when called to do so.
It is truly sad that something this horrific must happen for us to reflect and take steps to come to greater unity and understanding. If we do commit to a higher level of communication, and to a renewed sense of common purpose in our country, at least we will be building hope where there is now despair and holding a light of grace in the darkness.
I wrote a song about the tragedy, dedicated to 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green and the victims of the Arizona tragedy. View video clip of song on YouTube.